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 Who Truly Deserves a State? The Kurds or the Palestinians? 

 Source : Israel.Hasbara.Committee
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Who Truly Deserves a State? The Kurds or the Palestinians?  31.7.2007
By Victor Sharpe, IHC

July 31, 2007

There are twenty-two Arab states throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The world demands, in a chorus of barely disguised animosity towards Israel, that yet another Arab state be created within the mere fifty miles separating the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan. Israel, a territory no larger than the tiny principality of Wales and one that would comfortably fit into Lake Michigan with plenty of room left over, would be forced to share this sliver of land with a hostile Arab entity to be called Palestine.

The Arabs do not need another state. Their combined landmass exceeds 5,500,000 square miles, an area larger than that of the United States of America, within which are vast empty regions. The greatest con-trick played upon modern man is the myth of a separate Arab people who call themselves Palestinians. The irony is that the Arabs themselves rejected the name Palestine as being a Zionist invention and not worthy of Arabs who believed that they were simply a part of the Arab nation or, as many of them believed, inhabitants of southern Syria.

The indigenous peoples of the land, which in 1948 became the re-born state of Israel, are the Jews. They trace their ancestry in the land back nearly 4,000 years to the first Jew and Holy Convert, Abraham. But the world has gleefully adopted the myth that the Arabs, who call themselves Palestinians, also trace their beginnings back millennia. Most of the ancestors of these Arabs entered British occupied Mandatory Palestine illegally in the early years of the 20th century; a fact now dismissed as an inconvenient truth.

But there is a people who, like the Jews, deserve a homeland and truly can trace their ancestry back thousands of years. They are the Kurds and it is highly instructive to review their remarkable history in conjunction with that of the Jews. It is also necessary to review the historical injustice imposed upon them over the centuries by hostile neighbors and empires.

Let us go back to the captivity of the Ten Tribes of Israel who were taken from their land by the Assyrians in 721-715 BCE. Biblical Israel was de-populated and its Jewish inhabitants deported to an area in the region of ancient Media and Assyria - a territory roughly corresponding with that of modern day Kurdistan.

Assyria was, in turn, conquered by Babylonia, which led to the eventual destruction of the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah. The remaining two Jewish tribes were sent to the same area as that of their brethren from the northern kingdom, thus creating a densely Jewish populated region.

When the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, allowed the Jews to return to their ancestral lands, many Jews remained and continued to live with their neighbors in Babylon - an area which included modern day Kurdistan.

The Babylonian Talmud refers in one section to the Jewish deportees receiving rabbinical permission to offer Judaism to the local population. The Kurdish royal house of Adiabene and a large segment of the general population accepted the Jewish faith in the 1st century BCE. Indeed, when the Jews rose up against Roman occupation in the 1st century CE, Kurdish Adiabene sent troops and provisions in support of the embattled Jews.

By the beginning of the 2nd century CE, Judaism was firmly established in Kurdistan and Kurdish Jews today speak an ancient form of Aramaic in their homes and synagogues. Kurdish and Jewish life became interwoven to such a remarkable degree that many of the Kurdish folk tales are connected with Jews.

It is interesting to note that several tombs of Biblical Jewish prophets are to be found in or near Kurdistan. For example, the prophet Nachum is in Alikush while Jonah’s can be found in Nabi Yunis, which is ancient Nineveh. Daniel’s tomb is in the oil rich Kurdistan province of Kirkuk, Habbabuk is in Tuisirkan and Queen Hadassah or Esther, along with her uncle Mordechai, is in Hamadan.

After the failed revolt against Rome, many rabbis found refuge in what is now Kurdistan. The rabbis joined with their fellow scholars and by the 3rd century CE Jewish academies were flourishing. But the Sassanid and Persian occupation of the region ushered in a time of persecution for the Jews and Kurds, which lasted until the Moslem Arab invasion. Indeed the Jews and Kurds joined together with the Arabs in the hope that it would bring relief from the Sassanid depredations they had suffered.

Shortly after the Arab conquest, Jews from the autonomous Jewish state of Himyar in what is today’s Saudi Arabia joined the Jews in the Kurdish regions. However under the Arabs, matters worsened and the Jews suffered as dhimmis in the Muslim-controlled territory. The Jews found themselves driven from their agricultural lands because of onerous taxation by their Moslem overlords. They thus left the land to become traders and craftsmen in the cities. Many of the Jewish peasants were converted to Islam by force or by dire circumstances and intermarried with their neighbors thus forming the basis of what are today called the Kurds.

From out of this population arose a great historical figure. In 1138, a boy was born into a family of Kurdish warriors and adventurers. His name was Salah-al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub; better known in the West as Saladin. He drove the Christian crusaders out of Jerusalem even though he was distrusted by the Moslem Arabs because he was a Kurd. Even then, the Arabs were aware of the close relationship that existed between the Kurdish people and the Jews.

Saladin employed justice and humane measures in both war and peace. This was in contrast to the methods employed by the Arabs. Indeed, it is believed that Saladin not only was just to the Christians but he allowed the Jews to flourish in Jerusalem and is credited with finding the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple, which had been buried under tons of rubbish during the Christian Byzantine occupation. The great Jewish rabbi, philosopher and doctor, Maimonides, was for a time Saladin’s personal physician.

According to a team of international scientists, a remarkable discovery was made in 2001. Doing DNA research, a team of Israeli, German and Indian scientists found that many modern Jews have a closer genetic relationship to populations in the northern Mediterranean area (Kurds and Armenians) than to the Arabs and Bedouins of the southern Mediterranean region.

But let us return to the present day and to why the world clamors for a Palestinian state but strangely turns its back upon Kurdish national independence and statehood. The universally accepted principle of self-determination seems not to apply to the Kurds.

In an article in the New York Sun on 6 July 2004 titled, The Kurdish Statehood Exception, Hillel Halkin exposed the discrimination and double standards employed against Kurdish aspirations of statehood. He wrote, “... the historic injustices done to them and their suffering over the years can be adequately redressed within the framework of a federal Iraq, in which they will have to make do - subject to the consent of a central, Arab-dominated government in Baghdad - with mere autonomy. Full Kurdish statehood is unthinkable. This, too, is considered to be self-evident.”

The brutal fact in realpolitik therefore is that the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians have many friends in the oil rich Arab world - oil the world desperately needs for its economies. The Kurds, like the Jews, have few friends and the Kurds have no influence in the international corridors of power.

Mr. Halkin pointed out that, “... the Kurds have a far better case for statehood than do the Palestinians. They have their own unique language and culture, which the Palestinians do not have. They have had a sense of themselves as a distinct people for many centuries, which the Palestinians have not had. They have been betrayed repeatedly in the past 100 years by the international community and its promises, while the Palestinians have been betrayed only by their fellow Arabs.”

During the tyranny of Saddam Hussein the Kurds were gassed and slaughtered in large numbers. They suffered ethnic cleansing by the Turks but they have exhibited great forbearance towards their tormentors. On the basis of pure realpolitik, the legality and morality of the Kurds' cause is infinitely stronger than that of the Palestinian Arabs.

President Bush has again called for an international conference in order to expedite the creation of another Arab state, which I have no doubt will become a blemish upon the legacy of his presidency and a mortal threat to the embattled State of Israel. The old nostrum that only when the Palestinian Arabs finally have a state will there be peace in the world is a delusion as much as a mirage in the desert.

On the other hand, after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the Kurds displayed great political and economic wisdom. How different from the example of the Gazan Arabs who, when foolishly given full control over the Gaza Strip, chose not to build hospitals and schools but bunkers and missile launchers. To this they have added the imposition of Shari’a law with its attendant denigration of women and non-Moslems.

The Kurdish experiment, in at least their current quasi-independence, has shown the world a decent society where all its inhabitants, men and women, enjoy far greater freedoms than can be found anywhere in the Arab and Moslem world.

President Bush, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and all the leaders of the free world should look to Kurdistan, with its huge oil reserves, as the new state that needs to be created in the Middle East. It is simple and natural justice, which is far too long overdue. A Palestinian Arab state, on the other hand, will immediately become a haven for anti-Western terrorism, a base for al-Qaida, a non-democratic land upon which the stultifying shroud of Shari’a law will inevitably descend.

Finally, it is also natural justice for the Jewish State, with its millennial association of shared history alongside the Kurdish people, to fight in the world’s forums for the speedy establishment of an independent and proud Kurdistan. An enduring alliance between Israel and Kurdistan would be a vindication of history, recognition of the shared sufferings of both peoples, and bring closer the advent of a brighter future for both nations.

On the other hand, the recent image of Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, hugging the Holocaust-denying and duplicitous leader of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is deeply repugnant to all who know their history.

Mahmoud Abbas has never, and will never, abrogate publicly in English or in Arabic the articles in Fatah’s constitution, which call for the, "... obliteration of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence" or in other words, the destruction of the Jewish State and the genocide of its citizens. This is the man Ehud Olmert hugs.

Consider Abbas' words at a rally on 11 January 2007 to a crowd of some 250,000 screaming supporters. Abbas called upon Palestinians to refrain from internal fighting and to direct their guns only against Israelis. So much for the partner Olmert embraces and the man President Bush and the Europeans shower with money and praise.

It is the Kurds who unreservedly deserve a state; the Palestinians forfeited that right by their genocidal intentions towards Israel and the Jews.

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